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Rep. Thompson hosts forum on gun violence in Santa Rosa Thursday


Rep. Mike Thompson said the public forum on gun violence prevention that he is hosting Thursday in Santa Rosa will be a wide-ranging discussion of the divisive issue rekindled by last month’s tragedy in Connecticut.

“Everything is on the table,” said Thompson, D-St. Helena, who was named chairman of a congressional task force on gun violence in the wake of the Dec. 14 massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.

Rep. Mike Thompson.

But Thompson, a hunter, gun owner and Vietnam combat veteran, refused to use the phrase “gun control” in an interview Friday.

The two words “create a divide that’s not bridgeable,” Thompson said, acknowledging the Second Amendment right to bear arms and saying “nobody’s going to take that right away.”

At the same time, Thompson reiterated his personal opposition to assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, which he has said “have no place on our streets or in our communities.”

Congressional Democrats have announced plans to push for bans on assault weapons, which are illegal in California, and magazines.

Thompson said his task force, which consists of of 12 other House Democrats, will develop legislative recommendations by the first week in February.

“The time to act is now,” he said. “The American people want something done.”

David Rabbitt, chairman of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, acknowledged the difficulty inherent in gun control, distinguishing the weapons people need for hunting and protection from those more appropriate to warfare.

“Where you draw the line is awfully difficult,” said Rabbitt, who is one of five local officials participating in the forum.

Sheriff Steve Freitas, District Attorney Jill Ravitch, county mental health director Mike Kennedy and Superintendent of Schools Steve Herrington will also sit on the panel.

The forum will be from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday in the supervisors chambers at 575 Administration Drive.

Mental health services also need to be addressed in relation to gun violence, Rabbitt said, because that issue had “as much to do with (the) Sandy Hook (school shooting) as anything else.”

Ravitch said she supports Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s move to renew a federal ban on assault weapons, and the prosecutor also called for improving access to mental health care.

Most of the people coming through the courts are drug addicts, alcoholics or mentally ill, Ravitch said, calling those conditions the “root causes” of crime.

“We are not a society full of psychopaths,” she said.

Thompson described the forum as a “listening session” intended to broadly deal with reducing gun violence.

Sam Paredes, the executive director of the Folsom-based Gun Owners of California, decried the focus on gun control as a solution to violence.

“We have a people problem, not a gun problem,” he said. “We will continue to see massacres and crimes committed by evil people.”

Nearly a million new guns were purchased in California last year, adding to the 30 to 40 million firearms already in the public’s hands, he said.

More than 166,400 assault weapons were legally registered in the state, including 2,203 in Sonoma County, between 1990 and 2006, according to the California Department of Justice’s latest count.

Use of firearms in serious crimes is declining, Paredes said, citing Attorney General Kamala Harris’ “Crime in California 2011” report.

The report said the number of homicides declined by 28 percent between 2006 and 2011, while those involving firearms were down by 33 percent.

Paredes suggested the criminal justice system needs funding to keep better track of people who have been prohibited by the courts from owning guns due to “mental deficiency.”

“We need better administration of the laws we already have,” he said.

(You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or guy.kovner@pressdemocrat.com.)

28 Responses to “Rep. Thompson hosts forum on gun violence in Santa Rosa Thursday”

  1. Robert Hauser says:

    Almost by definition, any weapon is an “assault” weapon…this is all too typical of Orwellian doublespeak and other semantic antics so grandly engaged in by so called “liberals” (yet another perversion of the term and cabalism) in the current scatosphere of politics in this country—note well my choice of words: I said politics in this country, not “American politics” as there is nothing at all “American” about the obscene political harlequinade taking place in America today.
    What the bionic Senatrix from Hell, Diane SWINEstein is attempting to do is further infringe upon that which is flatly not to be infringed upon—the Second Amendment: do you know why it is called the Second Amendment? I’ll tell you why—it is because once its gone as per Swinestein, the Brady Bunch and all the rest of the SUBVERSIVES in this country, ALL of your rights under the Constitition will be gone within the second.

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  2. Robert says:

    What Mockingbird is missing also is the fact that as a law abiding citizen, what I want is none of your business. If it is fun to take large magazines to the range and shoot a lot in an afternoon, so what. CA has had background checks in place for gun shows for decades. You dont like the scary black rifles, dont buy one. It is none of your business what I do if I do it legally. I have no problem giong after criminals, but stay away from law abiding citizens. 99.9% of gun owners broke no laws today with their guns. Wrape your noodle around that.

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  3. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    I think gun owners are missing the point. Their guns AREN’T being taken away from them. The restrictions on the table are assault like weaponry and large magazines. Tell me gun owners, why in the world would you want a 100 round magazine? Hunters out there, do you need 100 rounds to kill a deer? It certainly wouldn’t be edible-well, maybe for hamburgers.

    Also, the gun registration will be tightened up. You need a driver’s license to drive a car. You need to register your car and have ownership records. Same for your house. This being able to buy anything and everything at a gun show with no background check is also crazy. It’s like you want to arm those that are dangerous to society.

    It’s for all our safety. It’s practical and reasonable.

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  4. brown act Jack says:

    I Have the Solution!!!!!

    Every registered voter shall be issued a voter registration card that will be his concealed weapon permit also!

    And that will allow you to carry, keep, and bear any weapon at all for defensive purposes. No limitations.

    Now that will simple mean that if the registered voter is intelligent enough, sane enough, and not a felon, that the should be considered to be capable of carrying weapons.

    After all there is more danger from them voting then there is from them carrying a weapon!

    The weapon can only hurt a limited number of people, but their votes could hurt an unlimited number of people for various reasons!

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  5. brown act Jack says:

    Good discussion on the problen right here!

    If you really want to know what the problem is , read that editorial!

    And then post your responses to it here on WSC!

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  6. Rick says:

    I will be at the meeting. I am interested in how things will be presented. I remember when they banned .50 caliber rifles. Their justification was that it was the prefered weapon of the street gangs and had to go. A 4 and a half foot rifle that weighs over 30 pounds. Riiiight. Again, I want to hear how things are presented.

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  7. FedUp says:

    ” not the second amendment but guns, and how they are used, who gets to use them, and when, and under what conditions”

    Why do you preclude the 2nd Amendment. The answer to the questions you ponder lie therein. To wit:
    “How they are used?” – None of the government’s business until the use infringes on the rights of others

    “Who gets to use them?”: Any law-abiding citizen.

    “and when, and under what conditions?” – Anytime the life, property or liberty of those I love is threatened.

    You left one out
    “what type of gun?”: Any type that affords me firepower at least equal to that available to an unlawful adversary whom I might face.

    The root of the 2nd amendment is the right to life and defense of same against all comers. If you do not acknowledge that right as unconditional there is nothing to discuss.

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  8. Frank Matyus says:

    So if this is about guns and not the 2nd<-there’s a rebuttal on this but takes too long
    Would you support random checks on suspected gang members by law enforcement?
    Or would this be considered profiling (ACLU)as many are doing with legal gun owners

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  9. Follower says:

    The ONLY “conversation” that will work toward resolving the problem of gun violence in our society is the one you write off as a side note.

    Now how & the heck am I supposed to have ANY “conversation” with you when all you want to talk about is disarming law abiding citizens?

    AND… “if” your NOT in favor of outright gun confiscation and only want to make people register their guns so you can track them, then you are a useful idiot for the confiscation advocates who KNOW that there is NO WAY to confiscate guns until you know who has them!
    And why would I want to have a “conversation” with an idiot?

    …or did I just do that?

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  10. Robert says:

    A friend just sent this to me:

    A shotgun story

    You’re sound asleep when you hear a thump outside your bedroom door.

    Half-awake, and nearly paralyzed with fear, you hear muffled whispers.

    At least two people have broken into your house and are moving your way.

    With your heart pumping, you reach down beside your bed and pick up your shotgun.

    You rack a shell into the chamber, then inch toward the door and open it.

    In the darkness, you make out two shadows.

    One holds something that looks like a crowbar.

    When the intruder brandishes it as if to strike, you raise the shotgun and fire.

    The blast knocks both thugs to the floor.

    One writhes and screams while the second man crawls to the front doorand lurches outside.

    As you pick up the telephone to call police, you know you’re in trouble.

    In your country, most guns were outlawed years before, and the few that are privately owned are so stringently regulated as to make them useless..

    Yours was never registered.

    Police arrive and inform you
    that the second burglar has died.

    They arrest you for First Degree Murder
    and Illegal Possession of a Firearm.

    When you talk to your attorney, he tells
    you not to worry: authorities will probably plea the case down to manslaughter.

    “What kind of sentence will I get?” you ask.

    “Only ten-to-twelve years,”
    he replies, as if that’s nothing.

    “Behave yourself, and you’ll be out in seven.”

    The next day, the shooting is the lead
    story in the local newspaper.

    Somehow, you’re portrayed as an eccentric vigilante while the two men you shot are represented as choirboys.

    Their friends and relatives can’t find
    an unkind word to say about them..

    Buried deep down in the article, authorities acknowledge that both “victims” have been arrested numerous times.

    But the next day’s headline says it all:
    “Lovable Rogue Son Didn’t Deserve to Die.”

    The thieves have been transformed from career criminals into Robin Hood-type pranksters..

    As the days wear on, the story takes wings.

    The national media picks it up,
    then the international media.
    The surviving burglar has become a folk hero.
    Your attorney says the thief is preparing
    to sue you, and he’ll probably win.

    The media publishes reports that your home has been burglarized several times in the past and that you’ve been critical of local police for their lack
    of effort in apprehending the suspects.

    After the last break-in, you told your neighbor that you would be prepared next time.

    The District Attorney uses this to allege
    that you were lying in wait for the burglars.
    A few months later, you go to trial.
    The charges haven’t been reduced,
    as your lawyer had so confidently predicted.

    When you take the stand, your anger at
    the injustice of it all works against you..

    Prosecutors paint a picture of you
    as a mean, vengeful man.

    It doesn’t take long for the jury to convict you of all charges.

    The judge sentences you to life in prison.

    This case really happened.

    On August 22, 1999, Tony Martin of Emneth, Norfolk , England , killed one burglar and wounded a second.

    In April, 2000, he was convicted
    and is now serving a life term..

    How did it become a crime to defend one’s own life in the once great British Empire ?

    It started with the Pistols Act of 1903.

    This seemingly reasonable law forbade selling pistols to minors or felons and established that handgun sales were to be made only to those who had a license.
    The Firearms Act of 1920 expanded licensing to include not only handguns but all firearms except shotguns..

    Later laws passed in 1953 and 1967 outlawed the carrying of any weapon by private citizens and mandated the registration of all shotguns.

    Momentum for total handgun confiscation began in earnest after the Hungerford mass shooting in 1987.Michael Ryan, a mentally disturbed man with a Kalashnikov rifle, walked down the streets shooting everyone he saw.

    When the smoke cleared, 17 people were dead.

    The British public, already de-sensitized by eighty years of “gun control”, demanded even tougher restrictions.
    (The seizure of all privately owned handguns was the objective even though Ryan used a rifle.)

    Nine years later, at Dunblane , Scotland ,
    Thomas Hamilton used a semi-automatic weapon to murder 16 children and a teacher at a public school.

    For many years, the media had portrayed all gun owners as mentally unstable, or worse, criminals.
    Now the press had a real kook with which to beat up law-abiding gun owners.
    Day after day, week after week, the media gave up all pretense of objectivity and demanded a total ban on all handguns.
    The Dunblane Inquiry, a few
    months later, sealed the fate of the
    few sidearms
    still owned by private citizens.

    During the years in which the British government incrementally took away most gun rights, the notion that a citizen had the right to armed self-defense came to be seen as vigilantism.
    Authorities refused to grant gun licenses to people who were threatened, claiming that self-defense was no longer considered a reason to own a gun.
    Citizens who shot burglars or robbers or rapists were charged while the real criminals were released.

    Indeed, after the Martin shooting, a police spokesman was quoted as saying,
    “We cannot have people take the law into their own hands.”

    All of Martin’s neighbors
    had been robbed numerous times,
    and several elderly people were severely injured in beatings by young thugs
    who had no fear of the consequences.
    Martin himself, a collector of antiques,
    had seen most of his collection
    trashed or stolen by burglars.

    When the Dunblane Inquiry ended,
    citizens who owned handguns
    were given three months to turn them over to local authorities.

    Being good British subjects,
    most people obeyed the law.
    The few who didn’t were visited by police
    and threatened with ten-year prison sentences if they didn’t comply.

    Police later bragged that they’d taken
    nearly 200,000 handguns from private citizens.

    How did the authorities know who had handguns?
    The guns had been registered and licensed.
    Kind of like cars. Sound familiar?


    “…It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds..”
    –Samuel Adams

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  11. Brad says:

    No, it’s not going to be a “forum on gun violence”, it’s going to be one of the early rallies on gun confiscation. It wouldn’t surprise me if all the people that legally registered their semi-auto rifles in California’s last “assault rifle” ban will now be required to turn them in for destruction. Just one more step in the leftist dream of totally disarming American citizens. All except criminals of coarse.

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  12. judi goldberg says:

    the above comments make it even clearer how important it is to have a conversation, (you guys ever hear of such a thing, you know where each person proffers an idea and it is discussed) about guns in our country. not the second amendment but guns, and how they are used, who gets to use them, and when, and under what conditions
    and mental health is a whole other story.

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  13. J says:

    Will the anti-civil rights lobby be willing, when whatever gun bans they pass this round fail to stop the next atrocity from happening, to admit that their attempts to legislate the second amendment do no good at all and repeal most of the anti-gun laws in our Republic? Would they be willing to allow us our civil rights as protected by the 2nd?

    Or, will they, as I suspect will happen, show their insanity by again doing the same thing and hope for a different result?

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  14. Frank Matyus says:

    The 1st amendment affords us the right to peaceful protest. (Also would appreciate WSC to send back my comments not just delete)
    Have ya seen the peaceful protest of the chicken scratch wearing left and how the media covers the event?
    The broken windows, overturned cars, burning debris box, baseball bats to law enforcement windshields ETC
    Well, they come up with a way to separate themselves with this (Splinter group, so not all people are guilty of this?)
    What are the criminal charges of these individuals’ milk and cookies a night in jail maybe, if there caught? Punishment must fit the crime?
    When it comes to the 2nd amendment that’s a different ballgame, rather than face the reality of the mental illness, senseless tragedy, they will blame a tool and all owners of one,
    Why does the constitution apply to some and not all?
    So, should we have a background check before any can exercise there first amendment?

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  15. paul says:

    This approach is such a white uppity hoo-haw. It doesn’t happen in poor white schools. What happens to the poor is more socially hidden but relentless. Those seeking escape from gangs are killed in smaller and more frequent incidents, and I understand that it is also a latino issue. The poor are given the obvious truth, that they are less important than the richer and mostly white enclaves. The whole society needs a good looking over. We are also so medically diagnosed with diseases that require taking medicines that threaten suicidal actions if prematurely stopped. WHAT, who thought that was a good idea, breaking down the barrier to suicide. Surely homicidal thoughts were given a more than passing nod in this process. Most health plans do not cover weekly oversight (KP), but allow doctors to prescribe medicine that blatantly states that weekly supervision is essential. And then the just basically ignored. Guns, nah, doctors some, HP’s yup, social services yep. Cops and the safety net, you betcha. We ought to give small automatic arms to the kids to give them a “fighting” chance.

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  16. BigDogatPlay says:

    Another meaningless gesture by another out of touch political elite. Passing more laws to stand in the way of law abiding citizens who choose to partake of a constitutionally protected civil right will do absolutely nothing to prevent a crime in the future. When the FBI’s own statistics show that violent crime is far lower in both raw and per capita numbers in states where gun ownership is not looked up like some kind of social disease as it is here in California.

    Yes Mr. Thompson, everything is on the table. Except, I fear, an honest discussion about the real problems that are involved. Just as a hint, the problem is not the private ownership of firearms.

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  17. Jorge Soto says:

    Did you know that no matter what gun control laws are passed by the federal government, they can only be enforced in your area if your county sheriff allows them to be. The Sheriff is a very important person indeed.

    Most people, including politicians fail to realize that the ultimate legal authorities in the land are the county sheriffs. This was established from the time of the Founding Fathers and upheld by the US Supreme Court in the 1997 case of Printz v. United States.

    Also, did you know that over 99% of legal gun owners have NEVER committed any violent crime with or without a gun. Come on MAN!

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  18. Dan Drummond Sr says:

    Those who play with the devil’s toys will be brought by degrees to wield his sword. ~R. Buckminster Fuller

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  19. Dan Drummond Sr says:

    I have a love interest in every one of my films: a gun. ~Arnold Schwarzenegger

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  20. James Bennett says:

    Mike “blow up the dams” Thompson.

    More charade.

    History hasn’t smiled in citizens that were disarmed.

    The founding fathers knew a lot. Tyranny was fresher in their memory than ours.

    Their efforts were to prevent exactly what’s goin’ on right now.

    however retaining the sanctity of freedom they outlined is a responsibility.

    Wonder if this will be a Delphi meeting?

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  21. Over Easy says:

    We don’t have a gun problem we have a wacko problem. Lets fund mental health services so that these ill people who are killing innocent people with guns, bombs, and vehicles can get the treatment they need.

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  22. Jim says:

    The time to act is now! Almost 1,800 people die each year in CA from traffic accidents that involved alcohol and/or drugs. This is FAR more than killed by shootings where the perpetrator LEGALLY obtains a weapon. Cars need to be further regulated. Breathalyzers should be mandated on all vehicle ignitions. A blood test using a drop, like the kind a diabetic uses to test blood sugar, should be on every ignition.

    Gun laws only restrict law abiding citizens from obtaining weapons. Why don’t these idiot Legislators and government dopes go survey members of the Crips, Bloods, MS-13, Notenos, etc and see how many of the weapons they carry were purchased from a gun shop? More people die in CA from poison than from legal guns. The Federal Government wants to restrict assault weapons, while they give the very same weapons to Mexican drug cartels (Fast and Furious…ever hear of it?).

    If the acts of a few lunatics make the government believe MORE restrictions on the law abiding citizens are necessary, I think there should be a serious look at the wine industry. DUIs are a much more serious problem than shootings by law abiding citizens, especially in Sonoma County. Lets tax wineries into compliance with restrictive new laws. Lets make all alcohol purchases require a background check. A drunk person causes much more havoc than the legal weapons I have to protect my home and family.

    Oh wait, the wine industry is too important for Sonoma County so there can’t be restrictions put on those. That would be a terrible political move, thus nothing will be done. Guns on the other hand, that’s a good political move so everyone jump on the bandwagon.

    People are just so easily duped.

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  23. joe right says:

    Somehow the Second Amendment side is not represented .
    Minor oversight.

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  24. Follower says:

    If your intention is to make sure only criminals have guns, you’re in for a two-fer!
    I have no doubt that they WILL ban our guns. We WILL keep them anyway and with a stroke of a Politician’s pen, millions of Americans will go from Law Abiding Citizen to criminal.

    …unless you’ve failed to purchase health insurance, then you’ll ALREADY be a criminal!

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  25. Joe Merckx says:

    If we look at homicide statistics in the United States it’s clear that more murders are committed with knives, bats, hammers and poisons than with firearms. As Kurt Nimmo recently noted, “ the number of murders committed annually with hammers and clubs far outpaces the number of murders committed with a rifle.”

    The facts, not the drivel being spewed by the anti-gun propaganda machine, leave us wondering why some State and Federal lawmakers are so adamant about restricting the sale and ownership of handguns and rifles, especially since the majority of gun owners – close to 99% – have never committed a violent crime in their lives, let alone used a gun to do so.

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  26. Rick says:

    It should be a short meeting. He can say that everything people want banned is already banned in California so we are all 100% safe. They should also ban criminals having guns. Oh wait, we did that already. Yep, all set.

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  27. Vinyl Rules says:

    Rep. Thompson heading this task force is a “Nixon goes to China” moment. And just like that historic event, I hope this too has the force to break through long-standing divisions and get something done. Doing nothing is simply not an option.

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  28. Brown Act Jack says:

    the stupidity of politicians never seem to amuse me. The politician thinks the “assault weapons” are some sort of more dangerous gun then a sporting rifle.

    WW1 was fought with bolt action rifles, Civil War with muzzle loading until breach loading came into being, and they killed lots of people.

    As to gun deaths! Get real folks,about 5,000,000 people die a year in the USA, and 10,000 of them die from guns.

    You would not notice the difference in
    deaths in the country if you buried all of the guns in the country, and there were no bullets in the country!

    Death is a fact of life! Get over it!

    The world is over-populated now! You have no right to life, if you did you would never die, would you?

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